Saturday, 19 December 2015

Sen. Sessions Criticizes Immigration Provisions in Omnibus Spending Bill

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Speaking in the early morning hours of December 18, after the House had passed the massive  $1.1-trillion spending package (but before the Senate had voted on it), Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.; shown) strongly condemned the legislation because it would fully fund President Obama’s resettlement of both refugees and illegal aliens, fully fund sanctuary cities, and quadruple the number of H-2B foreign worker visas.

In his speech (on YouTube) Sessions displayed visible irritation at times, as he complained that the bill contained none of the provisions to protect the interests of the American people that he and Sen. Shelby (R-Ala.) and several colleagues in the House had included in a letter to the House leadership.

“I doubt they ever spent a minute looking at the letter from two United States senators,” said Sessions.



Sessions said that in his capacity as chairman of the Senate’s Immigration Subcommittee, he sent a list of recommendations to the House asking that several controversial provisions benefiting legal and illegal immigrants at the expense of American taxpayers be defunded, but, when he read the funding bill at 2:00 a.m., he found that the recommendations had been completely ignored.

“I’m not happy about it, colleagues,” declared an obviously angered Sessions.

During his impassioned speech, Sessions complained:

This omnibus bill approves the president’s request for increased refugee admissions, allowing him to bring in as many refugees as he wants, and he can bring them from anywhere he wants, and allow them access to unlimited welfare and entitlements at the taxpayer expense, which is not scored as a cost under this bill. It would insure that at least 170,000 green cards, that means permanent residency with a guaranteed path to citizenship, refugee and asylee approvals will be issued to migrants from Muslim countries just over the next 12 months. 

It contains dramatic changes to federal immigration law that would increase by as much as four-fold the number of low-wage foreign workers provided to employers under the controversial H-2B visa program.

He continued:

Because of this bill, sanctuary cities will continue to get federal funds. The Obama Administration can continue issuing visas to countries that refuse to repatriate — take back — violent criminal aliens and the president’s executive amnesty continues. Meanwhile the tax bill, that will be moving with this omnibus bill, makes permanent the additional child tax credit and the earned income tax credit and it does nothing to block their future distribution of monies to illegal aliens. A tax credit to a person who doesn’t pay taxes is a check from the government. It’s not deduction. It is a direct payment. It scores as a welfare payment by the budget office. So this means more illegal aliens will continue to get the tax credits.

The Hill quoted a statement  from Chris Chmielenski, a spokesman for Numbers USA, a group that has poposed that immigration quotas be curbed, criticizing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for allowing a provision into the spending bill that would dramatically increase the number of H-2B visas available for foreign workers. Chmielenski said that Ryan’s failure to oppose this provision violated his pledge to look out for American workers in his first speech to the House after assuming the speaker’s post

“H-2B visas are for low-skilled foreign workers who typically compete with people who have a high school diploma or less and these are the people who are struggling the most,” said Chmielenski.

“These are the people that Ryan seemed to be referencing in his speech, and yet he sneaks in a provision in the omnibus that’s going to quadruple the number of low-skilled foreign worker visas,” he added.

Before the House-passed spending bill was voted on by the Senate, presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote a statement opposing it that was posted by Time.com. In his article, Paul stated:

Following an all-too-familiar script — despite Republicans holding the majority in both houses of Congress — GOP leadership betrayed our principles through this terrible bill, acquiescing to the Obama administration’s determination to swell to our $18 trillion dollar debt.

In his statement criticizing the spending bill, Paul went beyond the parts of the bill related to immigration that Sessions had strongly condemned and highlighted its sheer fiscal irresponsibility:

Speaker Ryan’s bill will further increase our $18 trillion debt by keeping us on course to borrow a million dollars a minute, ignoring our budget caps and adding $60 billion in new spending. It’s absurd that conservatives would agree to any new spending. Currently, some $3 trillion comes in to the US Treasury in taxes. Couldn’t the country survive on just $3 trillion dollars?

Despite the strong opposition from Sessions and Paul, the budget bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Senate on a 65-33 vote. Another candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), explained after the vote why he had opposed it:

What we’ve seen in Congress today is profoundly disappointing. This spending bill does not honor the promises we made to the men and women who elected us. It funds Obamacare. It funds Planned Parenthood. It funds executive amnesty. It fails to protect our national security and stop Syrian refugees from coming to this country. It fails to do anything to stop the Iranian Nuclear Deal. And what does it do? It jacks up yet more low-skilled immigration, which will only drag down wages, kill American jobs, and hurt working men and women.

Cruz has frequently used the term “Washington Cartel” to describe the bipartisan power structure that has dominated American politics for as long as most people can remember. It is perhaps the most descriptive phrase used to describe the elite forces controlling our government since former President Dwight D. Eisenhower used the term “military-industrial complex” in his farewell address on January 17, 1961, in reference to the relationship that exists between our nation’s political and military establishment and the arms industry that profits from a foreign policy built around interventionism and warfare.

A key difference, however, is that Eisenhower, who had been an active member of the interventionist Council on Foreign Relations, an organization that has steered foreign policy in every presidential administration since World War II, was very much a part of the establishment cartel that he identified.

Cruz, on the other hand, along with a handful of other anti-establishment senators such as Rand Paul, has been a strong opponent of that bipartisan power structure. He summed up an op-ed column he wrote for Politico on December 17 (“The Republicans in Congress Are Surrendering to Obama”):

When I’m traveling this country, people often ask me why Washington isn’t listening. Over and over again, from coast to coast, they ask me how Washington can be so tone deaf to their volcanic frustration with the failed tax and spend policies that have absolutely crushed them. Well, I am listening to them, which is why I cannot and will not support this massive crony Christmas gift — a bill that effectively forfeits our massive Republican victories of 2014 and cements Obama’s priorities for nearly the full remainder of his term.

 

Related articles:

Paul Ryan-led House: Spending, Capitulation to Democrats, and Rising Debt Continue

Sen. Sessions Wants to Defund Refugee Admissions Program

Sen. Sessions, Rep. Brat Warn Colleagues to Curb Immigration

 GOP-run Senate Rescues ObamaTrade, Puts TPA Back on Fast Track

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